MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. The Moscow government has coordinated for June 16 a march in support of Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter of the Internet resource Meduza, the press service of the Moscow department for security and action against corruption told TASS on Tuesday.
"The chairman of the Moscow Journalists’ Union, Pavel Gusev, the chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists, Vladimir Solovyov, journalist and member of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights under the Russian president, Yekaterina Vinokurova, turned to the Moscow government with a request to stage a mass meeting on Sakharov Avenue on June 16, 2019, between 1pm and 3 pm," the source said. He said up to 20,000 people were expected.
"Given a major public outcry, the Moscow government coordinated the request," the source added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said that the criminal case against journalist Ivan Golunov on suspicion of drug trafficking had been dismissed "in view of the failure to prove his participation in the crime." All charges have been dropped, and he will be released from house arrest on June 11. The materials of the internal probe were referred from the Internal Ministry’s security division to the Investigative Committee to review the legitimacy of the actions by the police officers, who had apprehended Golunov. The officers have been suspended.
Ivan Golunov was taken into custody on June 6. According to the Interior Ministry’s main Moscow office, Golunov was carrying four grams of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant drug, while five grams of cocaine were found during a search of his rented apartment. Subsequently, he was charged with drug dealing, whereupon Moscow’s Nikulinsky District Court placed the journalist under house arrest. Golunov denied all the accusations from the beginning, and his defense attorney believed that the prohibited substances had been planted.